Only one person can consume your sleeping and waking thought for a long time, even before you know the person. It is not your spouse o, it is your baby sitter, or better still, your nanny. You can ask me, and the thousands of moms who, at one time or the other, have needed the services of this person.
Before she comes, you worry and wonder if whoever is bringing the nanny will bring the perfect one for you, after the numerous descriptions you might have given of the kind of person you would prefer. Or you might have to sieve through so many choices, before your eyes and heart finally find that one you can at least trust your baby(ies) with.
Getting a nanny for my younger twins, was a big headache. In the end, I had to settle on taking them to the Nanny’s place, instead of having her come to mine, because of my erratic work schedule back then. And was I blessed with having those women as nannies? I was, but our relationship was always strained whenever I complained about something, or my husband felt something was not right with the quality of care the kids were getting.
In the end, I always had to be the one to smoothen things out, because I did not want to start hunting for another nanny, and uprooting the children from a situation they had grown accustomed to. Besides, we had connected on an emotional level, and I instinctively trusted them to do well by my babies.
Anyway, sorting things outs was an easier choice than looking for alternatives. They looked after the kids until they were of school age, and no longer needed as much hours of care as they did before. And now, we are just friendly neighbours, who have my kids over, just because they miss them.
Naomi has been down the nanny route too. She is a mom of three kids in my church, and I had recently commented on the fact that one of her nannies had left in December, and she just unloaded her story. Since she had her first child, seven years ago, she can not count the number of nannies that have gone through her house, or the number of nannies her kids have seen in their short life time. They just keep coming and going, and there is nothing one can do about it, was what she said. It does not matter, whether you treat them right or not, the girls, and the people who bring them, just cannot be satisfied. But that is not the point.
The last two girls that were with Naomi both left in December, within weeks of each other, and she barely managed to get another girl in, before the second girl left, as usual, without much notice. It was a painful experience for her, because she now has to deal with her three kids, and teach the new nanny the house routines (which she is still yet to get a hang of), and she still needs one more nanny.
While the last set of girls were with her, Naomi said she had started to make plans for them for the New Year, in terms of empowering them in handcrafts, despite the fact the person, who had brought them to her, had vehemently advised against sending them to school.
Both girls had shown interest in her make up business, and had even assisted her for a recent bride she made up, so she had been given consideration to teaching them more about make-up artistry, before everything fell through without notice.
When she first started, she had always bought their clothes and shoes, made their hair, and generally provided all they needed, whilst they lived under her roof. But over the years, she realised she was spending so much on clothes for the nannies, and some of them had left within two months of coming, so she had to buy new sets of clothes for the newcomer, because they never came with any. Nowadays, it’s a new strategy.
Her words: “Apart from the financial strain it puts on me, I have come to realise the emotional strain of having someone in your home, and after you have started to accept them into your heart, they just disappear! It is very frustrating. It’s unsettling for me, and my kids do not find it funny at all. Until, they get used to the new girl, I do it all. I have come home to meet my kids starving, because they refused to be fed by the new nanny. It’s hard. Really hard. But they are a necessity for me, unless I want to break down and end up in the hospital.”
Another mom, who does not have such a high turnover rate of nannies, is Kudirat. She has had only one nanny since she had her daughter two years ago, and for that length of time, the relationship between her and her nanny has evolved from an employer-employee one to a big sister and younger sister relationship, except there are boundaries which have never been crossed.
When she goes out and sees nice things, which she thinks her nanny might like, she buys them for her. The love affair between them has gotten to the stage where she shops for clothes for her nanny when she goes out clothes-shopping. That has led to some fashion faux pas on her part, as she finds that there are times they are both wearing the same dress, skirt or blouse and guess, who has to change? Kudirat of course.
At least the first two moms mentioned here have nannies, Evelyn does not have one, and with two under 5 kids on her hand, she is almost running out of ideas of how to cope. Right now, she feels as though she is cheating on her husband with the numerous calls and text messages she has had to deal with, as she has practically told everyone who has ears, that she is looking for a nanny and their help with getting one would be highly appreciated.
Most of the people she has told, took it to mind and actively sought for a nanny for her. But there is an issue. Most of them expect her to accept whomever they bring, without asking questions, which is never going to happen. So, she has to send some messages, asking to meet the young ladies and also expand her options, by looking at other young ladies, being shown to her.
Making a final decision is still her purvey with perfunctory assent from her husband. But she needs to find one to get that perfunctory assent for, and fast too, especially with schools resuming soon. In making this decision, she is making it with the idea that, whomever this nanny will be, she would be looking after her precious babies, hence, she has to be the very best of the lot she sees.
There was this joke that was making the rounds on the social media about a child, who asked his mother if she would leave her cash filled wallet with the nanny, and when the mother said, “Of course no”, the child had asked why then does she leave him with her? You can say it…out of the mouth of babes.
And it is because of the babies, that some moms tolerate some untoward attitude from the nanny, because the nanny is good with them.
Until, such a time that we don’t need help in any form again, the romance with the nanny continues. So help us God!
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